Day 29 – Friday
We’ve gone from yesterday’s sunshine to snow! Well, at least, there is snow on the glacier about a 20minute bus ride away. It’s October and people are already skiing
The weather has closed in a bit overnight and there was low cloud about. More importantly, the temperature had plummeted and John had told us that there was quite a hard frost on the ground when he went out to shower at 7:30. 7:30??? In the morning, John???
We had arranged to meet at around 10am for a trip up to the glacier. Despite the low cloud, the weather is fairly clear up on top and they are reporting a daytime temperature of -0.6degC. Wow? This called for a little drastic action as we hauled out our winter gear and wrapped up in layers of warm clothing, hats and gloves. It was, as I put it on Facebook, absolutely freakin’ cold! I could’ve said fucking cold but I didn’t want to upset anyone.
An hour, a bus ride and a cable car journey later (as we were stepping on, Jane asked me if I was scared of heights. “Fucking terrified, Jane, but determined not to miss it and absolutely determined to enjoy it”!) and we were almost at the top of the glacier. Unfortunately we were never to get to the very top this time …..but next time….So we got off at the second to last stop and as we did, the clouds parted and the sun came out.
OH MY GOD!!!! Spectacular, breathtaking, beautiful, wild, rugged, cold and utterly mesmerising.
Within minutes though, it closed in again and was snowing, so any ideas of a snow angel were put to one side as we gapped into the restaurant for a drink and something warming for lunch. We didn’t see the sun again but this is one stop that we’ll definitely come back to.
Later that night after a lovely meal out at the local restaurant and the best duck breast with pear sauce I’ve ever had, we went for a visit to the church graveyard. Sounds a little….weird? Maybe just a little… but once you see it you can understand why. It is so beautifully kept and every night a candle on each and every grave is lit and the effect is mystical..
And I think I need to mention something here before I go. John knows just about everyone in the village ….and up on the mountain!!! Wherever we go, they are both greeted with delight and genuine warmth. They have been coming here for nigh on 30 years and have built up such a wonderful rapport with the locals that they are locals themselves now. They are truly part of the community and so proud of their 2nd home. We feel really privileged that they have shared it with us.
Thank you, guys xxx
Day 30 – Saturday
If you thought visiting the graveyard last night was a bit weird…..we went back again today. Even in the grey weather, it’s a beautiful place to visit, so well tended, calm and peaceful. John pointed out the grave of Father Franz Senn, who founded and developed mountaineering in the Tyrol particularly in the Stubaital valley and began to encourage tourism in an effort to combat the valley’s poor parishioners.
So after a visit into the Neustift church – just amazing and a this just a village church – we took a slow wander around to town to soak up some history and look at the plaque and the water feature in Neustift that have been built and placed in his honour.
Not that the walk through Neustift had used up many calories but, as it started to spit (OMG it’s spitting!!!) we took some shelter in a bakery which just happened to be in the same street we were in! This called for a milschkaffee ….and it would have been rude not to try their apfelstrudel!
Braving the rain (still just spitting!) we made our way back to Kaya because “someone” needed to have his afternoon nap.
With the rain still coming down, just a bit harder, a little later in the afternoon, what else was there it do…..but have a braai! No, really!! The gorgeous Mr T rolled out Kaya’s awning and prepared little mini-me with a fire. The bear rotisserie was broken from his wrapping, a pole shoved up a chicken and impaled on the skewers to prepare for supper.
And finally I was able to serve the brown butter roasted pumpkin saved from Germany all those days ago, Served warm with some lettuce leaves, goats cheese, pumpkin seeds and a mustard and honey dressing for a starter. Yum yum!
My experiment of using my electric pressure cooker, that can do just about anything else (IPDUO 6-in-1), to fry chips was a dismal failure as the saute option just can’t maintain the 170degC that I thought it could. So chips fried as any normal person would, on the stove. Ah well, I remain philosophical…. and these were served with the perfectly rotisseried chicken thanks to the gorgeous Mr T.
What did turn out just dandy was the Yorkshire Curd Tart, made including the shortcrust pastry, in Kaya’s little oven. This tart is a possible precursor to the cheese cake that we know today.
As you know, I love to cook simple food. We’ve learned on our travels that some of the best food we eat is based on local ingredients and simple recipes handed down from generation to generation. It’s something that I’m pretty passionate about and I spend hours researching and perfecting recipes. So when I share these with you, they should be pretty foolproof and full of flavour even though they may seem “too simple” to taste good. I hope you give them a go and if you do, please let me know what you think.
I am also a passionate believer in British food – we are more than just fish & chips – and this recipe proves my point entirely. You won’t need to make the pastry as the shortcrust that you can buy these days is great and the filling takes all of 5 minutes to whisk together – the baking takes the longest, the eating the shortest!